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Crowds, rabbles and throngs, clubs, hordes and troupes

Are Collectives for people who gather in Groups

But what do we call friends who are woolly and furry

Barking or whistling, singing or purry?

When they get together with family and friends

What is the word for their special blends?


Let’s start with the alphabet, that means the A

Which letter was first from the Ark would you say?

It wasn’t the whale, the worm or the shark –

But a shy bunch of prickles we call the Aardvark.

If you should meet lots of aardvaarks at once

And call them an Armoury, you’d not be a dunce.


If you’re keen on games and like jokes and japes

You’ll be happy to meet a grouping of Apes

But what will you call them – this family of jokers…

This smart clever band of naughty provokers?

The word is descriptive, it’s perfectly apt

A *Shrewdness of Apes has them all neatly capped.


Now think of the sea, in the depths of the ocean

Where swims a predator in fast or slow motion

He is hunted and eaten, grows more than three meters

Provides tasty meals and feeds plenty of eaters

He’s a high-powered fish and fond of flattery

When found in groups it’s a Barracuda Battery.


Our next group of B is from land, not the sea

And some of his kind live and sleep in a tree

Some like the snow, others the jungle

The name for this lot seems a silly bungle

It’s a **Sleuth or a Sloth when you see many Bears

An affliction of fiction from hundreds of years.


The last of our B’s flies dainty and free

Over the land but seldom the sea

She does beautiful things with colourful wings

She dances o’er flowers as the sweet bird sings

A Flutter of Butterflies is commonly heard

But Kaleidoscope’s often the Collective word.



Jan Darling


Teaching Notes:


Sounds of the Aardvark:  soft grunts as it forages (looks for food like antnests); loud grunts as it approaches its nest entrance and soft bleats if frightened.


What do you call a group of Aardvaarks?


How many ‘As’ are there in Aardvaark?


Sounds of the Ape: sounds like something between a series of dog yaps and UGH!The sound is called a ‘jibber’.


What do you call a group of Apes?


What is the meaning of ‘shrewd’?


*Shrewd means both clever and sharp.   Apes are known to observe you closely, often appearing to deduce what your next move will be.



Sounds of the Barracuda:  Sadly, most fish sounds are inaudible to the human ear.  But if we could hear them, fish-talk would sound like purrs, grunts, hums, clicks and hoots.


What is a group of Barracuda called?

Information not included in the poem: Barracuda can grow up to 100 cm and weigh up to 9 kilos.    They can live 10-15 years because they have few natural predators – only man, sharks and the Orca whale.


Sounds of Bears:  Each Bear family has a different sound, they growl and when angry they roar, Bear cubs make a hoarse bawl when they’re scared, they also make whuffing noises and they moan and grumble.


What is the name for a group of Bears?


What characteristic does this name imply?


**Both Sleuth and Sloth come from Old and Middle English.  Some writers associate the idea of Bears often seeming to look for things with ‘sleuth’ or detective.  Most agree that Sloth comes from Old English Slow-th, meaning slow.  We now know that not all Bears are slow.  In fact you should never run from a bear – he can cover 50 yards in 3 seconds!   And your running will just encourage him.  


Yards: an imperial measure equal to the metric measure of  0.9144.    Discuss Imperial and Metric measures.


What sounds do baby bears make?


Sounds of the Butterfly:  they flutter – an onomatapoeiac word.


Onomatapoeia is a “figure of speech” – it describes a word that itself sounds like the subject it refers to!


What are examples of onomatapoeiac words?

Baa-lamb.  Baa is the sound that the lamb makes.  

Or sizzle – the sound that the steak makes.

Buzz – the sound a bee makes.


What is a group of butterflies called?


Information not included in the poem:  The butterfly has four different stages of growth: the Egg, 100-300 are laid at a time.  The Caterpillar: the egg produces a caterpillar which grows to its final size and then becomes the Pupa (which are usually attached to the underside of a leaf), which finally produces the Butterfly.


All sounds are available online.  Simply Google ‘Sound of the …’ and you will be taken either to a dedicated website or to YouTube.


“If I had a pony” by Julie Dascoli

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If I had a pony


If I had a pony, only if I did,

I would call him Darcy, Darcy the Kid.

I would feed him carrots and sometimes some hay,

I would brush his long tail and ride him all day.

Out of the paddock, through the rusty gate,

We’ll be friends forever, as Darcy’s my mate.

When the sun is setting, and the birds go to bed,

I will say “Good night,” and kiss his sweet head.

“The Seahorse and the Mermaid” by Madonna George

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The Seahorse and the Mermaid
The seahorse and the mermaid went up to the water’s edge one day
To glimpse at the world above-
Together they winked and leapt out of the water and to golden sands they played.
They strolled in the shine of the sun, and warmed their bodies and giggled some more.
For their’s was an adventure that day
An odyssey different to the sea.
The shells they found were presents for Neptune and all the seahorses galore,
that fretted and cried for seahorse’s absence.
For they were creatures of the sea
A family yet unamed by sciences and formulas
The mermaid she dipped her sunbronzed body
back into the sea and sweetly murmured to the seahorse
Wait for me!
Madonna George

Prompt #28 “Showtime”

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Many rural towns have an annual show. As well as the rides and showbags there are is a variety of judging both for livestock and produce.

Can you write a poem about any aspect of “The Show”?




Send poems to:




And this weeks quote:

“Read a thousand books, and your words will flow like a river.”

― Lisa See

Look her up 😄


“A Tribute to WWI Military Dogs” by Robyn Youl

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11/11/19-18   >  11.11.2018


A Tribute to WWI Military  Dogs


His Master’s Voice has gone

Dogs do not understand goodbye

He watches waits and grieves

Why do the women cry?


A War Dog has a focus

Love dictates the choice

The wailing shells surround him.

His world, His Master’s Voice


He did not care to understand

Why humans kill or play

Be it German, French or English

His Master’s Voice his day


Evading deadly Allied Bullets

On German Voice command

A precious load strapped to his back

He skims the mire of No Man’s Land


Blueruns with army orders now

There are no sheep or cattle

Blueonly hears His Anzac’s Voice

Above the roar of battle


A Red Cross Dog saves lives

Aiding those who still draw breath

The Stretcher Bearer’s Voice

Braves the screaming stench of death


Flanders fields are still blood red

Killing is still glorified

Men and dogs are still at war

Will we ever turn the tide?

Robyn Youl



Both sides trained Military Dogs.

World War I dogs were used to carry messages, first aid kits and transmission wiring. Some dogs were army mascots.

Small dogs were also useful in the trenches to kill the hordes of rats that swarmed  in the filth and squalor. Removing sick and dead men from the trenches was difficult. They were high, narrow and usually had stagnant water lying in them. Rats thrived.

The rule was Keep your Head DOWN!!! Sharp shooters on the other side of No Man’s Land were just waiting to put a bullet into any head that poked up.

No Man’s Land was the distance between enemy trenches. It was covered on barbed wire. After the troops had come out of the trenches to Charge the Enemy, No Man’s Land was the place of the dead, the injured and the dying.

The sound of shelling, machine gun and rifle fire began at daylight and did not finish until it was too dark to see.

At night the stretcher-bearers were busy taking the wounded to safety. Other soldiers were collecting Dog Tags or Identity Discs from the dead. These were used to change the records to Killed in Action and send a telegram and letter to the next of kin.


The Australian Armed Forces still train war dogs. If you love dogs you might like to find out more about them.


Horrie the War Dog  by Roland Perry is an interesting yarn about a dog who worked with the Austrailan Army in Egypt.


“Milking Time” by Julie Thorndyke

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Milking Time


On a ship again, this time
the rocking makes the red gunshot
crevices in my torso quake and sting
with every pitch and dive. Seabirds
hover, like the maggies on the farm—
is it milking time?

The salt-harsh taste of bully beef,
the tepid tea, the damper bread—
in my mind’s eye, I see the flush
of mother’s cheek, as she pours out broth
and settles the little ones to their tea.
Is it past milking time?

Dusk, and in the greying sky
I hear an echo of the galah’s cry.
The cows will be coming up the hill
to stand in the yard, calm and still
with udders full and eyes soft brown—
They know it’s milking time.

Behind closed lids, I long to see the rush
of creamy white fall to the pail. But all
that comes is crimson rain that falls
and pools and comes again. I never thought
that Daisy’s teat would hold a memory so sweet
and make me long for milking time.

Young Bill, my brother still in school,
has risen early, retired late. He fights
his battle in the muddy paddocks of home.
Double milking, morning and night,
until I am home to do my share.
It is long past milking time.

Julie Thorndyke

“Heroes” by Mary Serenc

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Clap, yes clap loudly

For only they know the suffering

Memories etched in time-worn faces

Framed in the windows of the RSL bus.


Clap, clap hard

For the years unlived,

For those left behind.


Clap, don’t stop

For the ones still marching,

Medals hanging heavy on their hearts.


Clap for them

Clap for them all,

For only they know

The silent horror of war.


Mary Serenc